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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 24 MARCH 2009 VOL. 35 NO. 24

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 24th March, 2009

The House of Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O'clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(MR. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE SPEAKER

SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES

MR. SPEAKER: I have to remind hon. members to put your cellphones on silent or to switch them off.

MOTION

CONDOLENCES ON THE DEATH OF MRS. SUSAN NYARADZO TSVANGIRAI

MR. GONESE: I move the motion standing in my name that;

DEVASTATED by the tragic and untimely death of Susan Nyaradzo Tsvangirai, the wife of the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, the right Hon. Morgan Richard Tsvangirai.

SADDENED by the loss of a dear companion and a pillar of strength to the Right Hon. Prime Minister.

NOTING that the loss was felt by the whole nation, which showed unity of purpose in mourning the loss of a woman who was a symbol of hope and inspiration to all Zimbabweans.

NOW THEREFORE, THIS HOUSE conveys its profound condolences to the Right Hon. Prime Minister, the Tsvangirai and Mhundwa families.

Expresses its deep sorrow and sadness at the tragic and unexpected loss of life.

Takes this opportunity to celebrate the life of a woman who went through trials and tribulations in support of her husband and the cause he stands for.

FURTHER takes this opportunity to express its appreciation for the role that she and other women have played behind the scenes in furtherance of the careers of their husbands.

MRS. D.S. SIBANDA: I second.

MR. GONESE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Today we welcomed back into the country our beloved Prime Minister, the Hon. Mr. Morgan Richard Tsvangirai from South Africa where he was recuperating after the loss of his wife. As a nation, we are still in mourning and I think it is appropriate for this House to do it towards the life of a woman who was a mother to us and I believe that as a House of Parliament we should contribute. The death of Susan Nyaradzo Tsvangirai on the 6th of March 2009 came as a tragedy and it was a black Friday. It will be a black day for the rest of our lives. People will still remember precisely at the exact time when they heard of the death of Mrs Tsvangirai as the Americans do towards the death of John F. Kennedy. They still remember what they were doing at the time of his death and that would be so for most of us Zimbabweans. Even if we reach our eighties, we will still remember what we were doing when we heard of the tragic event.

Mrs Susan Tsvangirai was taken when she was going to attend a rally at Murambinda Growth Point and that sad dayshe was taken away in a tragic accident. The whole nation was shocked, everyone was touched and could not believe that this had happened. Speaking for myself, I was in Mutare - addressing a meeting for the Mutare Agenda, were the topic was "Can the Unity Government Succeed".

I was sharing the podium with my colleague, Hon. Charles Pemhenai - I do not know whether he is in the august House. After the meeting as we were taking questions, my phone that was on silent mode started ringing. I believe that I received more than twenty missed calls and I was puzzled as to why so many people were calling me on a Friday evening. It was only when my partner Chris Njovu, when I saw his name on one of the calls, I said to him, I am in a meeting and he said, just go outside. I said, why, I am in a meeting? Then I went outside - that was when he broke the sad news to me, I could not believe it. I went back to the meeting thinking that it was not true when one of the aides to the Deputy Prime Minister, told me, Arthur Guseni Mutambara, he was at the same hotel, the Holiday Inn, Mutare and that he wanted to see me - then I was worried. Then I could see there was commotion in the halls were we were addressing the people and I realized that indeed it was true that this had happened.

After the meeting, I went to the Hon. Deputy Prime Ministers' room and he confirmed the sad news to me that indeed our mother, the people's heroine had passed away. Who is this woman?

Susan Nyaradzo Tsvangirai was born on the 24th of April 1958 at Guta raJehovha Church in Mutare. She was the fourth child in a family of seven born to Simon and Margaret Mhundwa.

She did here primary education at Gunde Primary School and her secondary at Gunde Secondary School in Buhera. She met up with our Prime Minister at Trojan Mine in Bindura in 1978 where the Prime Minister was a foreman at the time.

She leaves behind six children and two grandchildren. She had three boys and three girls namely, Edwin, Garikai, Rumbidzai, Vimbai and twins Vincent and Millicent. She was a devout Christian since her early childhood, she was a full member to the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe until the time of her death. Even at the funeral, the Methodist Church in Mabelreign was packed to the brim as people jostled to get in. His Excellency the President of Zimbabwe was there, the Deputy Presidents were there, the Deputy Prime Ministers and most if not all the Cabinet Ministers were there to pay their last respects to the dear mother of the nation.

She had a passion for empowering women and children and had begun to set-up the Susan Nyaradzo Foundation to help uplift women and children of Zimbabwe.

Susan Tsvangirai was a humble and very strong woman who was always positive about any situation. She always supported her husband throughout his political career and often accompanied him to political events. She always had a vision for a new and better Zimbabwe which she always talked about whenever she had the opportunity to speak publicly - which was not often.

She died at the early age of fifty (50) due to the injuries that she sustained when they were involved in an accident.

Mr. Speaker, I think we came together as a nation to mourn Mrs Tsvangirai. The crowds at her village, Humanikwa village, were more than forty thousand people (40 000) who descended upon the village to pay their last respects. It was clear that everyone was touched by the sad and untimely passing. It was not only Zimbabweans, we also had people descending from the whole region. We had ministers from Botswana, South Africa and even the Deputy Prime Minister of Kenya came, diplomats - people from all walks of life converged. It was quite clear that it was a moment of sadness.

I want to commend that unity of purpose that we demonstrated - everything that happens in life has a meaning. We may have been mourning the untimely passing of Mrs Tsvangirai but at the same time her death gave us the opportunity to come together as Zimbabweans. When we were at Humanikwa Village in Buhera, I saw members of ZANU PF, I saw the hon. member for Mutare South, the hon. member for Buhera North and the Governor of Manicaland - were all present. This meant that we were all coming together as Zimbabweans and it is quite clear that we were all touched by Mrs Tsvangirai's death. I believe it is going to bring us closer together - although the events might have been unfortunate -but at the end of the day, in mourning our beloved one, we have an opportunity of coming closer together.

I would also want to say that this House should also pay tribute to the numerous women that have supported their husbands. You will find that most of us men, here in Parliament, will be lost without our wives. Some of us are not able to pack properly our suitcases, when coming to Parliament, had we not had supporting wives behind us. Speaking for myself, often times, I have come to Parliament only to find that I would have forgotten my cuff-links, my tie or my socks - this is a role that is normally played by women. When it comes to the bringing up of children, it is the women who normally assist the children with their homework. Most of us men are usually busy involved in careers be it politics or business. Without the strong women behind us, we would not be where we are today.

I would like to go back to the story of creation, it is said that when God created our forefather Adam, he looked at him and said surely, I can do better than that. That is why he then created Eve - who some people believe, is an improvement on Adam that is why we always refer to our wives 'as our better halves'. You will find that most of us men refer to our dear ones as 'our better halves' - when we say those words we actually mean it.

Mrs Tsvangirai stood by her husband through very difficult and trying times. She stood by him when he was arrested and beaten up - all these are signs that she was giving support to her husband. She was a pillar of strength not only to the Prime Minister but to the whole Movement for Democratic Change. I believe that is appropriate for all of us to come together as one to pay tribute to this wonderful woman. In conclusion, I would like to quote from the Bible Proverbs 31:10-31, I believe these are the words that aptly describe Mrs Susan Tsvangirai:

'Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet nith, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard'

I will skip the other verses and go to the most appropriate one, ' She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh will to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.

Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.'

In these words, may her soul rest in eternal peace.

MRS D.S. SIBANDA: Mr. Speaker and hon. members, on behalf of my Constituency in particular and all Zimbabweans in general. I wish to express my sincerest condolences to our Hon. Prime Minister, on the untimely and painful loss of his beloved wife and mother of our nation. it was with particular shock and much sorrow that I learned of the death of Mai Tsvangirai. I am sure all Zimbabweans join me in saying how very much we share the sadness of the family.

Mai Tsvangirai embraced her country like a devoted mother, with her courage, compassion and unconditional love. She shared in all the sorrows and hardships of the Zimbabwean people, never turning anyone away no matter how rich or poor. The kindness of her smile has made her one of the most beloved figures of our time. She symbolized the principles and values of a true Zimbabwean, something for us all to live up to. She showed us that peace is the only way, to be gentle and loving no matter what comes your way.

The Zimbabwean people came to love her during the dark hours of hardships while our country was falling apart and we were striving for our human rights and freedom. Her friendship never failed and my compatriots are profoundly grateful to her for this. Her love was and still is a silent force beside her husband as he walks the Zimbabwean people through the fire of the wilderness, to the rebirthing of our nation.

Mai Tsvangirai was a true Zimbabwean Heroine, let us not forget what this simple but powerful Lady has shown us. In her memory let us go forth with renewed passion, and make the necessary adjustments that will create the Zimbabwe we can all be proud of.

I leave you with this poem by Stephen Norval which sums us the values and principles of Mai Tsvangirai.

It's all really very simple:

do only what you truly want to do

go only where your Heart leads you

give all you have to give to all,

for what is willingly given will lovingly return

seek only to be truly helpful

choose only Peace and never conflict

teach only love and allow fear on place

walk gently with an Open Heart

and through compassion you will lovingly understand

look only for the good in all you see

listen only for the voice of Love in all you hear

think only the thoughts of Love in all you think

speak only words given directly from the Heart

hold only the highest good of the Whole in mind

seek only to look upon the face of Love

be strong and know you are always safe

practice only true forgiveness and pure reflection

extend only your Self and withhold all projection

make no judgment lest you be judged

accept your own salvation and the world is saved

accept responsibility for all you experience

and say "I made this so"

want nothing and all will be given you

remember you are the Holy Child of God!

measure for the Truth of what you know by the Peace it brings to heart and mind

and never, never compromise or doubt what you know you know.

go forth with Love, and Love will come forth

be gentle with your Self and walk with God

you see, it is all so simple:

love is all there IS

MR. F. MUNENGAMI: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to contribute on this motion and technically make my maiden speech. On behalf of my constituency, Glen-View North, my family and indeed on my own behalf, I want to say that the death of Mrs. Susan Tsvangirai was a big blow to us and we will have to grapple with the future without our so dear mother.

To us, the death of Mrs. Tsvangirai demonstrates that death is more universal than the life we so much cry for as it has shown us that everyone dies and it is not everyone who lives. She was a mother of our struggle, a woman of a very extraordinarily strong character whose sacrifice, determination and unshakeable resolve has taken our struggle for a better Zimbabwe to where we are today.

She was a pillar of the MDC as a party and she provided a leaning shoulder to our Prime Minister throughout the struggle and tribulations he has gone through in his quest for a better Zimbabwe. Mrs. Tsvangirai was a strong woman, whose life and character we must strive to emulate and make life out of. She was a woman whose vision and belief in a better Zimbabwe ran dipper than the scars she and her family bear from the struggle. She was one woman, whose humble life told many stories intertwined to make one thing and that thing is success.

Mr. Speaker, throughout her life, I know Mrs. Tsvangirai was a mother par excellence and a woman of unimpeachable integrity who leaves behind an unwavering legacy. Despite the very painful way Mrs. Tsvangirai was taken away from us, I know she was one person who was never afraid of meeting her Maker, as she had lived her life so well whilst still alive.

Mrs. Tsvangirai was one such woman who managed to balance the competing interest of being a mother to her six children, a wife to our beloved Prime Minister and President of our great party, grandmother to her two grand children and a mother to the improbable struggle we have been waging for the past decade. I know when she died, she was a woman who died with satisfaction and happiness that the struggle she had been part of for the past decade or so was still on course and was nearing its logical conclusion.

Mrs. Tsvangirai was one such woman who carefully and diligently navigated the political path she and her husband have been walking through and I know that the success of the Prime Minister largely depended on her unquestionable integrity and motherhood. Let me say she is the only person so far who has unified this nation. Mrs. Tsvangirai is the only figure whose death brought together leaders of the country's major political parties in mourning, even those who lead parties that are outside the present Global Political Agreement (GPA).

Mr. Speaker, Mrs. Tsvangirai lived her life to her fullest potential. Her family and the nation are mourning. The nation is grieving but as we grieve, we grieve with hope and celebration. Hope that our mother left us a legacy, worth cherishing. Hope that our mother left us many lessons that will make us live life to its fullest. We take pride that our mother died "in combat". She died while on her way to Buhera where she was due to take part at a rally that was meant to celebrate the consummation of the GPA, which clearly shows how determined she was to ensure that every Zimbabwean lived life to its fullest.

Mrs. Tsvangirai was one such woman whose life gave meaning to the struggle for a better Zimbabwe. She was one such woman who symbolised African womanhood. She was one such woman whose life stood for the endurance expected of the wife of any leader. To borrow from Mark Twain, Mrs. Tsvangirai lived a life that was so exemplary that her death even made undertakers to feel sorry.

Today as we gather in this august House, we need to celebrate this life which was lived to its fullest. One great speaker said death is beautiful when seen to be a law and not an accident. It is as common as life itself. So as we remember and cherish the life of this great woman, we need to see her death more as law than as an accident, and this will make us see the beauty of death.

The death of Mrs. Tsvangirai is a great challenge to the inclusive government. The success of this inclusive government which also forms part of her enduring legacy is the only way we can fulfil the wishes and aspirations of the late Mrs. Tsvangirai. The success of the GPA and the attainment of democracy and the fundamental freedoms for every Zimbabwe is the only fitting tribute we can have for our late heroine.

The death is also a challenge to this august House. It is only through the formulation of sound laws for this country that we can effectively pay our homage to the late Mrs. Tsvangirai.

Let the word go forth to the world that the death of Mrs. Tsvangirai could have shaken our hearts and minds, but it cannot shake the resolve of the Zimbabwean people. The death even failed to shake the resolve and determination for a better Zimbabwe which Mrs. Tsvangirai symbolized and which we, as the surviving generation are so determined to fulfill.

Mr. Speaker Sir, we are a nation of improbable hope. Let this august House symbolize a generation so ready to take over from where Mrs. Tsvangirai left. Let it be known that we are a generation so lucky to be summoned to serve this great nation at a moment of its greatest need. Mrs. Tsvangirai was so lucky to be part of this generation.

Let it be known that we are a generation that is ready and well equipped to sacrifice everything that we are, everything that we stand for and everything that we have in defence of the values that Mrs. Tsvangirai stood for. Such an improbable challenge, we are ready to take without any blinking.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I implore this House to emulate this life, which was so well lived, to cherish the enduring legacy this great woman has left and to ensure that the dreams and aspirations Mrs. Tsvangirai unshakably stood for are fulfilled. I thank you.

MR. CHIMANIKIRE : Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Gonese for moving this motion. The tragic news of the death of Mrs. Susan Nyaradzo Tsvangirai came like a bolt of lightning. We found it hard to believe and hoped that someone would phone and say it was misinformation and that the information was not correct. But that was not to be as the events unfolded.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I for one, and personally, God gave me the priviledge to have known the late Susan Nyaradzo Tsvangirai for a period spanning up to almost two decades, both in my career as a Trade Unionist and Secretary General of the Post and Telecommunications Workers' Union, as a member of the ZCTU General Council, the National Council of the ZCTU, as well as the first Deputy Secretary General of the MDC.

No doubt Mr. Speaker that Susan Tsvangirai was a brave but kind woman, a devout Christian who believed in the power of prayer and was a beacon of hope when we and her husband - the now Prime Minister of Zimbabwe went through tough times.

Way back in 1989 as a Trade Unionist, we traveled from police station to police station looking for her husband who was the then Secretary General of the ZCTU. We could not find him for six weeks. During that particular period Susan wore a very brave face. She had faith in God that He would look after Morgan Tsvangirai, the now Prime Minister of Zimbabwe. Morgan had been detained for his principled stance on the adverse effects of ESAP and his opposition to a one party state in Zimbabwe.

In December 1997, on the event of the attempted assassination of Morgan Tsvangirai at the ZCTU head office- hours later, I personally sat on the lawn of their Ashdown Park house together with the Secretary General Morgan Tsvangirai and his head was in bandages. The 'so called' War Veterans had attempted to throw him from a tenth floor and they even made a follow up to ensure that he was dead. I arrived at their home and the then Prime Minister was sitting on the lawn with Susan Tsvangirai sitting next to him, knitting a jersey. Of course, I was very angry with the events and I remember saying to Morgan Tsvangirai, "why don't we take the bull by its horns", because earlier on a few years down the line, he had been arrested on several occasions - sometimes he was arrested around midnight or early in the morning.

She sat by her husband's side. She never commented and after I left - I later realized in 1999 that the ideas that we had discussed on that forlorn day on their lawn in Ashdown Park had been realized on the formation of the MDC party. I knew that the woman who had sat there quietly was influential on the final decision to bring out the real liberation of Zimbabwe, in view of the experiences we were having.

In October 2000, the now President of the MDC-T faced treason charges after a rally at a stadium. On the 25th of February 2002, treason charges were laid against him, while her house was subjected to night raids. The steadfastness of Susan Tsvangirai was amazing. Each time I was summoned to their home and every time he was arrested, I always saw Susan Tsvangirai wearing a brave face. Most women would have broken down and cried or panicked, but the character of Susan Tsvangirai was unique. I never saw her in tears.

In describing her Strathaven home, a writer, Stephen Chan, in his book, 'Citizen of Africa' in which he put on record an interview and conversation, which he held with the current Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, he wrote and I quote, "…the garden is beautiful, the lawns are mowed, the hedges are clipped, there are twelve flowery trees….", and that demonstrates that Susan Tsvangirai had love for her home.

In his speech to the nation after the voting for the Presidential Elections in 2002, Morgan Tsvangirai said that we may take moments of fear but we must never let despair to fall upon us. On countless occasions, Susan Tsvangirai was on countless times shipped out of Zimbabwe for her own safety as well as that of the children, but she never despaired. She inspired members of the MDC party who were victims of violence. Nationally, she formed organizations of Members of Parliament so that they discuss and share ideas during the difficult times that they went through.

Whenever she thought that the welfare of her children was at threat, she took offers from friends of the party to take care of her children while they were outside the country. The late Susan Nyaradzo Tsvangirai cared for the welfare - not only of the party membership, but also of its leadership and I am one of the examples.

Soon after the inauguration of the Prime Minister, I drove to State House to congratulate her and the Prime Minister. The first question she asked me was, "where is your wife?" That was something that concerned me such that the following day I had to take my wife to meet Susan Tsvangirai because she thought that it was not sufficient for me to offer them congratulations in the absence of my wife. She said some people who could not shake my hands on the 15th of September 2008, were now shaking my hands when the Prime Minister was inaugurated. Susan N. Tsvangirai cared about the welfare of not only party members and leadership but the nation as a whole.

Asked about his private moments and how he coped with the overwhelming political agenda in 2004 by the Citizen of Africa author, the Prime Minister responded and I quote "In most cases I found that having a loving family, a loving wife, a supportive wife and a supportive family background, it is the anchor that I have in order to continue during the frustrations".

During the bereavement of the Prime Minister on the loss of his dear wife and indeed the bereavement of his children on the loss of their mother, the bereavement of the Tsvangirai family, the Mhundwa family and Mbuya Tsvangirai in Buhera, they should seek solace in the fact that the whole of Zimbabwe is your family, a supportive family. We remain your anchor.

May the soul of Susan N. Tsvangirai rest in eternal peace and her spirit stay and guide the family. We salute you for the job well done.

MR. BHASIKITI: I would like to join my voice in this motion which is heart breaking. It was on Friday after having spent a very good day in the initiation of the inclusive government with the Vice Prime Minister Hon. Khupe in Masvingo - on our way back that is when I got the sad news. I got home and found my wife in tears, I tried to comfort her saying what is the problem and I had to get the news from other people - she could not even explain to me. This shows the degree to which this woman's sad loss was felt even amongst members from our side.

Mr Speaker Sir, I went straight on television, I could see His Excellency Cde. R.G. Mugabe and family and the Vice President Amai Mujuru also in tears at the hospital - which clearly shows that the passing away of Susan N. Tsvangirai was a great loss to the inclusive government and to the nation. You can accurately measure the kind of a woman one is, anywhere in the world, you have a man to whom she is married - men are just a replication of the woman who is in the home - [HMS: Hear, hear] - they may shout and try to be as influential, to be as powerful as they can be when they meet alone but get back home, they will not raise their voice against the mother of the home. They will be modelled there and then parceled out.

So, if we have any good words to describe the Prime Minister himself, we have greater words for the great woman who was nursing this honourable man.

I am happy that the state gave a state assisted funeral, but in my opinion I think in this inclusive government it is important that we reassess the way we confer National Hero status. It is my submission that we could have the Cabinet to confer such status as long as we have this inclusive government -[HMS: Hear, hear]-.

My last words, it is just an encouragement that if all hon. members were properly married and happily married we will have less confusion in this House.

Mr Speaker Sir, I would have continued even with little information I have for this dear woman but I find myself joining my wife in tears, so I better end here.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Bhasikiti for your kind words.

MR. MADZIMURE: Thank you Mr Speaker. Hon. Bhasikiti almost took away all the words from me except that I find it a bit difficult to cry in some of these situations. What he said regarding the status, I think for Mrs. Tsvangirai, the status was given to her by how people responded to her death. This was shown by how people grieved after receiving the news that Mrs. S.N. Tsvangirai had passed on. You could feel the entire nation mourning over her death. Mrs Tsvangirai was known as an extraordinary, modest, truthful and loving mother.

I first met Mrs. Tsvangirai soon after my election as an MDC candidate in 2000. What I got from her were words of encouragement when I went to see the now Prime Minister at his home. Mrs Tsvangirai can be remembered for her bravery especially when her husband faced the most hardest times. The first trying times for the Prime Minister was when he was accused of treason. I remember, just a day before the judgement - if it were other women, they could have cried and sometimes they could have solicited the help of n'angas or mapositori to make sure that the worst does not happen. What Mrs. Tsvangirai did a day before the judgement was to tell people to pray. She was there when the judgement was passed and her husband was proved not guilty.

On 11th March 2007, again the then President of MDC was involved in one of these nasty engagements with the police when he was beaten. His face was not different from the way he looked after the recent accident. Again, Mrs. Tsvangirai stood by her husband and supported him through and through. She was an encouragement to the Prime Minister. She would smile whenever we talked about these confrontations and the problems the Prime Minister was going through.

What was striking about Mrs. Tsvangirai was that for the 10 years that the MDC was formed, no one can quote or misquote Mrs. Tsvangirai having said something negative even about the Opposition. She would attend rallies, she would speak on those rallies but up to today, no one can quote Mrs. Tsvangirai having said anything that can be used against her. That shows what kind of a woman she was. She knew her role very well, that she was there to support her husband, not to take the role of her husband. As a result, you find that the majority of us in the MDC can not say anything against Mrs. Tsvangirai. No one can say they were undermined by Mrs. Tsvangirai. She would just be supportive as a mother should be to her children. When we visited them at their home in Strathaven, she treated us equally. If you go there as an hon. member, she would treat you as an hon. member, if you go there as a national executive member, she would address you as a national executive member. That is what made her a mother to all of us. This could be felt by even those people who where not close enough to her. The evidence is there for us to see, though I am not a statistician but I can estimate the number of people who were at her funeral to be not less than 30 000. That says it all.

Mr. Speaker, as Hon. Bhasikiti has said, under normal circumstances, her status should have been discussed. If she does not fit to be one of the heroines in the Zimbabwean history, then the question comes to say who deserves to be. It is not a question of people sitting down and conferring a status, it is the generality of the people who confer a status. This is how it should be. I would like to find out what criterion is used to confer hero status. This is something that we must reflect on as Zimbabweans. It takes us back to people like Jairos Jiri. Who else can stand up and say he did enough for the people of Zimbabwe more than what Jairos Jiri did to the underprivileged people? Jairos Jiri institution still lives on after his death. If we do not confer such status to such people - is it a question of where people come from? Is our contribution to this nation measured by where I come from? If you come from Masvingo, Bulawayo, or Mashonaland West, you can not be a hero. I implore the inclusive government, which is a neutral government to redefine some of these things to see how we can deal with such issues. We have now been given an opportunity to correct a number of things.

*MRS. CHINOMONA: Let me join other hon. members in mourning the death of AmaiSusan Tsvangirai. Representing my constituency, Mutoko North, I pass my condolences to the Prime Minister Mr Tsvangirai and his family and to say that the death of Amai Tsvangirai touched all of us. What pained me most is that when I heard about the death, I cried. What pained me is the fact that I never had an opportunity to meet her or get close to her. I only saw her on TV and in the press. One is not invited to a funeral but your works will follow you after you die, that shows the works that you used to do on earth.

Amai Tsvangirai did not live to enjoy what she fought for with her husband, that is what pained me most. I want to thank the Prime Minister, Mr Tsvangirai for showing his leadership qualities when he said that it was a genuine accident because we had others who had echoed sentiments that Amai Tsvangirai's accident was not a genuine accident. Some were actually searching for who could have caused her death. There are some people who are always after causing misunderstandings. We as leaders should not be seen looking for faults that actually cause misunderstandings. Death is not something one can rejoice about. What I want to say is that the people of Zimbabwe had hopes of having Mai Tsvangirai as a mother. Just a glance of a photograph actually shows that she was a humble and soft-spoken person. Where she has gone we also feel the pain as women. I saw her child giving a speech on television and this indicated to me that she is the one who had brought up this humble and soft-spoken child. That actually shows the work of a good mother who groomed a child who is after building this nation. If women stand up and give the instruction to go and fight and kill others, for sure that will be done but if a mother talks a lot of sense about building up a nation this is implanted in her children. I saw Amai Susan's child speaking a lot of sense. If we have such children in our nation, we are bound to succeed.

+MR F.M SIBANDA: I will speak in Ndebele so that I may express myself clearly and eloquently and I will not stammer. To start with I would like to say thank you to those who say every cloud has a silver lining. I would also like to thank Hon. Bhasikiti who has left it to our discretion that we declare mother a national heroine. I hope and trust that the government and the powers that be will take Hon. Bhasikiti's suggestion into consideration.

I represent Magwegwe Constituency and up to this day, the electorate is still mournful because of this sad event. I also come from the Bulawayo Constituency, the electorate in Bulawayo is in mourning because of this tragic event. I also represent the Matabeleland Constituency, the Ndebele people are in grief and the question in their minds is why did mother leave us at the time when we have crossed the Red Sea on our way to the promised land of milk and honey, Canaan. They leave all their grief to the Lord above because nobody knows who took her soul away. The truth is all the people of Zimbabwe are in a state of mourning and grief. They say Her Highness is gone, the shadow is gone. Our elders were clever and had a saying which goes thus isitsha esihle asidleli meaning that nothing good lasts forever. Is this true that nothing good last forever? In my own opinion I think this is true. Our elders had a foresight. Mother was a heroine. In Shona they say wafawanaka and yet I do not think we are saying mother was good because she is dead. We do not agree that we are saying mother because she is asleep.

The Shona proverb which says wafawanaka is not applicable to this tragedy because I know there was a Father Zimbabwe uMqabuko who lived like a hunted hare. When he died we all said he was a hero. I put this comparison because the whole of Zimbabwe is sad.

On the 3rd of March at 6pm I had been selected by the Bulawayo Province as a delegation of Members of Parliament that as we were going to Parliament they had asked us to carry flowers so that we pay a courtesy call to the Prime Minister to show him that as the people of Bulawayo we congratulate him. I had been sent by the Province and we had made an appointment together with Hon. Senator Hlalo, Hon. Samuel Khumalo, Hon. Gladys Dube and Hon. Spiwe Ncube. I was the head of the delegation. We were advised to come at 6 o'clock. We know the Prime Minister is a stickler for time so we arrived at the venue at quarter to six. Mrs Tsvangirai and the Prime Minister welcomed us. One of us quickly handed the bouquet to the Prime Minister and Mrs Tsvangirai chided us saying this was her territory - hand the flowers to me, I am the President here and we laughed. We congratulated the Prime Minister. After an hour mother sent a maid to call us home. When we arrived we found a delicious menu had been set for us. Since MPs are hungry people, we sat down to the feast. When we left the home we went straight to bed and did not eat hotel meals because we were overfed. We also had plenty to drink.

I came to know Mr Tsvangirai in 1987 when I was described as a dissident for forming a break away Teachers Union (ZITU). I did not know Mrs Tsvangirai so well because I used to hold meetings with Mr. Tsvangirai at the offices who would refer to me as yesi mudhara because he was younger than me. I am now saying to him yesi mudhara and he says yesi Mafa yet he is younger than me because of his position. All this time I had never shaken hands with Mrs Tsvangirai until the 3rd of March.

I went to my rural home in Silobela because I am a news caster in my own right. I was listening to Studio 7 when my cell phone rang. Sky news was reporting that Mrs Tsvangirai was dead but this had not yet been confirmed. I was quiet because my children love my party. At a quarter past eight there was Ndebele news confirming the death of Mrs Susan Tsvangirai and my children were listening and they started crying. They cried more when they looked at me because they know my friendship with Mr Tsvangirai and the problems we went through together. They knew that as long as Mrs Tsvangirai was alive the country was at peace. When I got to my house in Bulawayo, lots of people from all walks of life came to my house mourning at the loss.

In summary I am saying fare thee well Ndhlovukazi.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY MR SPEAKER

SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES

MR. SPEAKER: I wish to remind all hon. members to switch off their cellphones for the last time.

MR. MAVHIMA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would like to add my condolence to the hon. members of the MDC T and the whole of the Zimbabwean nation at large on the loss of Amai Susan Tsvangirai in a tragic accident.

As one of us has said, I recall where I was and what I was doing. I was driving to my constituency when I received the message on my mobile phone that the Hon. Prime Minister had been involved in an accident. I immediately stopped my vehicle to verify the news but due to network problems I could not get through.

I did not know Amai Tsvangirai but from what I heard from various speakers and from various news reporters, I can safely say that she was a good mother and a good leader. My constituency Mr. Speaker goes beyond other suggestions that have been mentioned by Hon. Bhasikiti and others. I would like the inclusive government especially the ministries responsible for roads and Public Works to give priority towards the reconstruction of our roads and infrastructure. The particular road or highway that I use in my constituency has got potholes - infact - not potholes but boreholes. When you do not know the road, you are likely to get into an accident especially when traveling at night. We have a number of Members of Parliament that drive, we do not want to lose anyone as a result of the poor roads networks - it would be a disaster if that happens.

Her death and the spilling of her blood to me and other members from my party here - clearly shows the unification of our nation because we all mourned her death together. We believe it is the beginning of a united Zimbabwe. Her death brought us together to resolve the difficulties in our nation. May her soul rest in peace and most importantly I would like to wish our Prime Minister a speedy recovery so that he can partake his meaningful and rightful role as Prime Minister of this nation.

MR. DZINGIRAI: Thank you Mr. Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on this particular motion, just to make sure that the condolences are not coming from the same side…

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. member, I have afforded you the opportunity to make a contribution, please do so.

MR. DZINGIRAI: I am happy to stand up, Mrs Tsvangirai was a great woman and she died for a purpose because when she died people came together. Something again happened, after her death, Gen. Zvinavashe passed away and people came together. Many people attended the burial at the Heroes Acre so, I would say, she died for a purpose - may her soul rest in peace. In Shona vanoti, chinodzosa munhu kumusha inzara nemukadzi. Ndizvo zvinoita kuti munhu aite munhu nekuti chero munhu akapengereka akahwa zhara anodzoka kumusha. So, we need them because they are very important in our lives as men.

May Mai Tsvangirai's soul rest in eternal peace.

MR. CHIKWINYA: I rise to also proffer my condolences to the Tsvangirai and Mhundwa families on behalf of the people of Mbizo and indeed on my behalf, I would like to express our heartfelt condolences on the passing on of Mai Susan Nyaradzo Tsvangirai. It was with devastating feeling that we heard of the news at around 6 p.m. on the 6th of March of the accident - that took away the life of Mai Tsvangirai.

Like many of us, we also remember what we were doing on that day because we will never forget. We equally prepared to go and share the stage with others the next day, at Murambinda. We decided to take an early rest because we were going far, therefore, we would wake up early. We heard of the news, so devastating it was. Some of us could not believe it such that we managed to call our leaders who really confirmed that Mai Tsvangirai had passed on. I agree with every other speaker who has spoken about the greatness of this woman but let me also echo my sentiments on one topic or issue that was first mentioned by Hon. Bhasikiti and echoed by Hon. Madzimure.

That we need to revise our system on conferring the great men and women of our society that have contributed very much for the betterment of their country. If the source that told me of what the Prime Minister said, that source I do not doubt too much said, the Prime Minister when he was in his bed at Avenues Clinic said, God has made my wife a sacrifice. He actually said, it in Shona saying, Mwari aita mudzimai wangu chibairo chenyika. I want to believe hon. members here have echoed the same sentiments.

The last speaker actually said, because of the death of mai Tsvangirai, the nation found a rallying point, an entry point of sharing opportunities which because of the diversity of our political beliefs, we could not even attend the burial of our relatives because we are coming from different parties. I was filled with grief at the Mabelreign Methodist Church centre when I saw almost everyone who mattered from His Excellency the President, Robert Mugabe namai; the Deputy Prime Minister here present, Prof. Mutambara, Cabinet members and other members of Parliament who could not even get in because there was no space.

Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to echo the sentiments made by the Secretary General whilst we were at the Glamis Stadium. He described Amai Tsvangirai as a woman who existed in five matrixes. The secretary general on that day said Mrs. Tsvangirai was a woman first and foremost and went on to describe how good she existed as a woman. He described Mrs. Tsvangirai as a wife and no doubt most of us here echo the same sentiments that she provided the necessary pillar and anchor to our Prime Minister. It has been said here that she was a mother of six children, one of whom made a speech that even touched hon. members and indeed I have no doubt resonated quite well with the rest of the nation when Edwin said "today I have seen the other side of President R. G. Mugabe which has made me to have a better understanding of the man." So it was the death of his mother that made him have a better understanding of President Mugabe. Indeed I agree with everyone here who said Susan Tsvangirai died for a purpose. It is my humble submission to this august House that we now find an entry point in this country because of her death and equally so of the death of Retired General Zvinavashe.

As a nation when we come together we know what this woman stood for. We have a mind to make use of this unfortunate incident and an unfortunate event in our lives. However, let us celebrate by making sure that we fulfil what she stood for.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I would also want to challenge the Minister responsible for Transport and Public Service like what other hon. members said that our roads today represents carnage. It is by sheer luck that we drive and reach our destination without a puncture or serious accidents because our roads are in a deplorable state. I want to believe that this Cabinet and the Inclusive Governments must give priority to these highways such that they are repaired and offer safety to the drivers and everyone who will be using them.

At the very same spot where Mrs. Tsvangirai passed away, two weeks before, seven people had passed away at exactly the same spot. At exactly the same spot a bus coming from the funeral from Buhera was involved in an accident. Whilst some of us from the Shona culture would want to believe that it's a black spot, but technically speaking, it becomes a black spot because it presents a hazard. It is a hazard which needs to be rectified. The hazard still exists today and the Prime Minister faces a risk if he wishes to drive to his rural home.

Most of us know that the Prime Minister arrived in this country today and he might want to go back and see the grave where his wife is buried. He will be having the same risk and if anything happens again we will start asking ourselves very unnecessary questions when all of us know what has been killing people. I therefore implore the Ministers responsible to make sure that not only that spot but every other spot which present a hazard is taken care so that we avoid unnecessary carnage. With those words I want to say that may Amai Tsvangirai's soul rest in peace. May the Zimbabweans as a nation and as a people find solace and an opportunity to remain united and move forward I thank you.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY MR. SPEAKER

NATIONAL TOURISM STAKEHOLDERS CONFERENCE

MR. SPEAKER: Order, hon. members are invited to attend the Inaugural National Tourism Stakeholders Conference at the Harare International Conference Centre on the 25th to the 26th of March 2009. The Conference will be officially opened at 0900 hours.

MR. HLONGWANE: I will be very brief as I do not know much about the Prime Minister's wife Mrs. Tsvangirai. This is my maiden speech so I will take this opportunity to congratulate you Mr. Speaker on being elected Speaker of this House.

I want to add my voice to the condolence messages following the passing on of the Prime Minister's wife Mrs. Tsvangirai. On the day that the accident happened I had used the same road to drive to my constituency and when we got to that junction I actually made a comment and I said this place is so bad that someone would be involved in an accident one day. Those who are familiar to the spot and the junction of the road coming from Mhondoro with Masvingo is quite bad.

We drove straight to the constituency and as I have said earlier we all remembered the precise work that we were doing when we heard the news. When I was driving back to Masvingo because we had a function the following day in Mvuma for the Midlands Province, my wife called me and told me the sad news that she had received a message from her sister in South Africa that Mrs Tsvangirai had passed on. I remember very well that I dismissed it as rumour mongering as I could not believe it. We drove to Masvingo and when I got into the hotel, the news was running on sky news confirming that indeed the late Prime Minister's wife had passed on.

I called Hon. Mavhima to find out for my self first hand and he also confirmed that indeed he had received the news that the Prime Minister's wife had passed on. I want to express my condolences to the Prime Minister, to the MDC party and the nation at large for the unfortunate incident that tragically took away the wife of our dear Prime Minister Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai.

I also want to commend the leadership shown by his Excellency the President Cde. R. G. Mugabe on the occasion of the death of Mrs. Tsvangirai and when he visited the Prime Minister at the Avenues Hospital with Cabinet Ministers and other members. That to us spoke very loud that indeed the GPA which has been consummated by the subsequent formation of the Inclusive Government was a reality and began to see that conference with the President of the party was indeed commiserate and very serious to see the government perform its duties and last its shelf life which is about plus or minus three years. In the same spirit I also want to commend the leadership of the Prime Minister himself given that he was in bed for three days after his body having come out calm by saying that the accident had been a genuine accident. By these few words, I want to convey my condolences and sympathy to the Tsvangirai family, the MDC-T party and the nation at large. I thank you.

+MR. MGUNI : I stand up to convey my condolences and those of the people of my Constituency, Lupane. The people of Lupane did not know Mrs. Morgan Tsvangirai, but…..

An hon. member having passed between the Chair and the member holding the floor

MR. SPEAKER : Order…

+MR. MGUNI : Mr. Speaker, I was saying that the people of Lupane did not know the late wife of the Vice Prime Minister…..

MR. SPEAKER : Order, to correct you, it is uNkosikazi ka Prime Minister.

+MR. MGUNI : Thank you Mr. Speaker. In short, I would like to say that the people of Lupane were very much saddened by the untimely death of Mrs. Susan Nyaradzo Tsvangirai. The people of Lupane said that their hearts were really heart broken and this tragic event really shocked them because they do not understand what is really happening. They find it difficult to accept that she has died.

This sudden death of Mrs. Susan Tsvangirai has really shattered the people of Lupane. However, they say that during this difficult time they are together in sorrow with the Prime Minister, they feel pity for him and they cry together with him. They are also praying for the Prime Minister so that he becomes strong and does not loose focus in his task as the new Prime Minister. Their words of comfort are that the Prime Minister should not lose the power to focus on the events to turn around this country as well as that he should not loose his love for the people of Zimbabwe.

Therefore, the people of Lupane have affirmed that they wish the soul of Mrs. Susan Tsvangirai, the wife of the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe to rest in eternal peace.

MS A. NDLOVU : Mr. Speaker, this is my maiden speech - and allow me on behalf of my Constituency to congratulate you on your election as Mr. Speaker, as well as Madam Deputy Speaker and the President of the Senate and her deputy.

I would like to add my voice to the motion raised by hon. Gonese. On behalf of my Constituency, and on my behalf, I would like to express our heartfelt condolences to the Prime Minister, Comrade Morgan Tsvangirai and his family, the MDC-T party and the nation at large, on the untimely death of the late Amai Susan Tsvangirai.

Like the Comrade said earlier on, I clearly remember that when I heard about the sad news I was at the Oliver Tambo airport on my way back to Harare. A colleague called me back from England to check if it was true. I was shocked because I did not know but I checked and it was confirmed.

I personally did not know Comrade Susan Tsvangirai, but I was saddened and I cried because I knew that it was going to disturb the nation. However, I personally understand the role played by a female at the family set up and also as society. As such, I appreciate the sad loss by the Prime Minister.

Mr. Speaker, in Shona we say, musha ndimai, zvisingarevi kuti hakuna baba. Baba ndibaba and as such the loss by the Prime Minister is a great one and I share the loss with him. Allow me to commend the mature behaviour set by the Prime Minister when he said that the accident was genuine. I would like to urge the Ministry of Transport to make sure that our roads are in good condition to ensure that all of us, including the leaders, travel safely.

MR. SPEAKER : Order, may I advise the owner of an Isuzu registration number AAA 105L is blocking the way in the car park.

MR. GONESE : Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank all the hon. Members who have contributed to the motion, in particular the seconder of the motion, hon. Sibanda. I would also like to thank Hon. Munengami, and that was his maiden speech, Hon. Chimanikire, Hon. Madzimure, Hon. Basikiti who showed another side of him that is humorous, Hon. F. Sibanda, Hon. M. Chinomona, Hon. Mavhima, Hon. Dzingirai, Hon. Hlongwane, Hon. Mguni and Hon. A. Ndlovu.

This motion received unanimous support from all members of this House. I would like to thank all the members and say to Amai Tsvangirai, hamba kahle, fambai zvakanaka, and rest in eternal peace. I would therefore like to move that the House adopts this motion.

Motion put and agreed to.

Motion: With leave; adopted.

On the motion of THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (PROFESSOR MUTAMBARA), the House adjourned at Five Minutes to Four O'clock p.m.

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National Assembly Hansard Vol. 35 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 24 MARCH 2009 VOL. 35 NO. 24